Research: BENTON and colleagues, De

Listed in Issue 23


BENTON and colleagues, Department of Psychology, University College, Swansea, Wales UK assessed the nutritional status in a sample of 243 young British adult students, using biochemical indices of thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), folic acid, cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12), vitamins A, C and E, carotene and biotin and determined vitamin status as adequate, marginal or deficient.




Vitamin status was related to alcohol intake and smoking. Vitamins C and E, cyanocobalamin, folic acid and, in males vitamin A, was adequate in the majority of instances. Vitamins B2 and B6 status in a substantial minority of young adults was either borderline or deficient. The status of vitamin B1 and biotin in a minority of both sexes and vitamin A in females was marginal. For men, alcohol was associated with better levels of vitamins A, C, E and vitamin B6 and lower levels of biotin. Lower carotene levels were associated with alcohol consumption. Smokers of both sexes had lower vitamin C, folic acid and carotene values. Smoking in males was additionally associated with reduced vitamin B2 and biotin levels; in females with lower cyanocobalamin and vitamin E levels.



Benton D et al. The vitamin status of young British adults. Int J Vitam Nutr Res 67(1): 34-40. 1997.


I wonder what percentage of these students had optimal levels of these essential nutrients, and whether there was any correlation between nutrient status and academic achievement in their studies. Of course, since it may take many years for nutritional deficiencies to contribute to degeneration in health and appearance of disease, it is difficult to extrapolate from these young students to the population at large. I shudder at the results in the latter.

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